After doing a video of an endurance hiking competition, where I did a lot of handheld footage walking with the hikers, I realized that I need some kind of camera stabilizer. The commercial units are unfortunately out of my hobby-filmmaker budget. I looked around for DIY solutions and came across this DIY build:
The test footage was quite impressive and the sub $100 price tag made this build even more appealing. One thing I didn’t like too much was the the way the sliding handle bracket had been done. I looked around and found a macro focusing rail on Amazon that basically does the same job and costs roughly the same as the parts for the DIY slider. This in combination with a quick release mounting plate makes for pretty easy handling.
Another problem I ran into was that I needed substantially more weight to balance my D800 + lens than just the washers could provide. I ended up buying a bunch of lead weights from a fishing supply store and drilling holes into them so that they would fit onto the bolts. Now it balances my D800 + a prime lens just fine. I tried to get it to work with my 24-70 but I would probably need to triple the amounts of balancing weights for that. I’m afraid the whole rig would become to heavy. For now the primes are fine.
The whole build cost me around $80-$90 and I spent 2 weekends on and off working on it.
This video shows some test footage where I tied shoot the same video twice, once with and once without the steadicam. I shot this with my D800 and the 24-70 attached.
The difference is quite apparent. There is a bit of swaying going on after I do sharp turns, maybe I can control better for that with more weights or a better technique. I have to experiment and practice a bit more.
Update: I ended up removing the quick release plate and mounting the camera directly to the macro focusing rail. This lowers the center of gravity by ~ 2.5cm. The difference is huge. Now I can actually use the D800 with the 24-70.